William, I think that's what these institutes are promoting: multiple iterations of brainstorming combined with actual hands-on experience. The collaboration potential between industry and academia, in particular, is high. Sounds like you've participated in something similar.
Ann, you are certainly right about the power available with the collaboration of experts. In a good session ideas build on ideas, it is a great experience indeed. Then, after the ideas slow down, there is often a "reality checking" time, sometimes followed by another ideas segment.
taimoortariq, there's a lot of money and brains behind these institutes. That's not enough to guarantee success, of course, but I think the way they've been structured, as you point out, gives room for high hopes of success.
@william, i agree,thorough R&D is needed in this area, to make the production of these metals cost effective as well. Your right, because there is no point of acheiving the target, if it is not highly reproducable or if it is very costly.
taimoortariq, one of the things that intrigues me about these institutes is the fact that they're based on collaboration among industry, government agencies and educational establishments. This is a model for innovation that's worked well in Europe and other places. I think you're right, and that this approach can open up a lot more innovation in the future.
It is certainly correct that foaming reduces the density of metals overall, no question about that. And uniform foaming would also cause a uniform reduction in strength, as well. But if it were possible to produce metal castings with a foam core, the reduction in weight could be more than the reduction in strength. So perfecting a foam core method of production could be useful.
High strength alloys and heat treatments are certainly another area for development, and I am wondering about the possible benefits of adding a graphene layer or layers, since carbon addition is associated with improving the strength of steels, as are other, much more expensive additive elements.
That will be the challenge, which is to find the most cost effective method of improving the strength of the metals. Just finding a method is not enough, it must be both reproducable and economical, or else the effort would be of marginal value.
A middle school team from Rochester, Mich., has again nabbed the grand prize in the annual international Future City Competition, which drew students from 37 regions of the United States, as well as from England and China.
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Focus on Fundamentals consists of 45-minute on-line classes that cover a host of technologies. You learn without leaving the comfort of your desk. All classes are taught by subject-matter experts and all are archived. So if you can't attend live, attend at your convenience.